A Provocative Introduction
One way to boil all the problems of America down would be to say that it really comes down to the women. But before you light your torches and start hunting through your shed for a pitchfork, this also necessarily means that the problem really comes down to the men. But if you think about that for a moment, you still might want to go back to sorting through the garden shears and rakes because I mean, come on, if it’s a woman problem and that’s the men’s fault, how demeaning is that?
Now that we’re all worked up into a Wednesday dither, let’s have a C.S. Lewis quote shall we?
Speaking of marriage and the biblical and natural necessity of male “headship,” he writes, “The relations of the family to the outer world – what might be called its foreign policy – must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests. The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife” (Mere Christianity, 103).
Ah, see there? If anyone is to be tarred and feathered, it’s the Oxford Don, I’m just the messenger, people. If there are any Lewis statues or monuments anywhere, my apologies to the groundskeepers in advance.
But this is my point: the natural preferences and intense tribal patriotisms of the women in this land have been given the head. The demise of the family is well documented, leaving millions of children orphaned and fatherless, and the rates of crime and drug addiction and prison time and suicide have predictably skyrocketed, but the other less popular (and probably illegal at this point) thing to note is that this has left women unprotected, unloved, and the world unprotected from the resulting she-bear rage of millions. Not only that, but despite leading the charge for so-called ‘abortion rights’, these she-bears are also robbed of many of their cubs (by their own will), and they are hurt, angry, and ashamed.
Why must healthy, law-abiding citizens be frog marched through the streets and given dress code inspections at every doorway with threat of fines, misdemeanors, and prison time, while at the very same time, the very same people celebrate the riots and looting and destruction of whole cities? Because we are nation ruled by women, and that is not a blessing but a great curse (Is. 3:12). It is a great curse for no doubt many reasons that we are in the process of finding out, but one of the reasons it is a great curse is because women are generally more tempted to fear. This is naturally the case because all things being equal most women are weaker than most men. If you want a scientific reason, I hear it has to do with testosterone levels, probably other chemicals too.
This fear really does run like one of those stupid black lives matter voodoo fabrics seen in the recent MLB religious exercises from the black pit of the abortion mills all the way up through the mask mandates. Many women (and men) are driven to abortion by their fears. What if I lose my job? What if my man leaves? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if my child is disabled? What if this pregnancy seriously damages my health? What will my mom say? What will my friends think? And the fears go on… But the same fear has driven the COVID panic: What if millions die? What if our worst fears come true? What if my parents get sick? What if I get it and die? What if I get it and recover but am left with debilitating effects? What if my life is never the same? And what has the response been to these fears — all of them? Kill the baby. The healthy and the innocent must pay for the fears of the strong. Instead of the strong taking precautions to protect the weak, we have demanded that the strong and healthy be made weak and crushed. Thus we have come to be a land dominated and debilitated by fear.
What Does the Bible Say?
Of course the Bible addressed a bunch of this centuries ago: “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 2:5-7). And I’m going to return to this charge to men, and husbands in particular, to honor women, even in their weakness, in a minute. Hold your horses.
But the Bible also teaches this basic vulnerability of women in a number of places in the Old Testament specifically in the face of military threats: “In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it” (Is. 19:16). “And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames” (Is. 13:8). “Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men’s hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs” (Jer. 48:41). “Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs” (Jer. 49:22). “Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail: (Jer. 49:24). “The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken” (Jer. 51:30, cf. Jer. 50:37, 43).
It’s sort of like a running theme really.
Now someone might be wondering how the she-bear image and these comparisons work. She-bears robbed of their cubs don’t seem to be cowering and hiding in the bushes. Right. Exactly. The point isn’t that women are weak in every way, or this fear renders them paralyzed (as these texts indicate often happens to men). Have you heard of the “wall of moms” in Portland? “For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people” (2 Sam. 17:8). This goes back to Lewis’s point: that intense natural protectiveness is intended by God to be primarily directed at protecting the interests of a home. But when it is not channeled and directed to that fruitful end, it can become a deadly force of destruction. We are a nation filled with women “chafed in their minds.” (And the way they have been treated, I actually have great sympathy for them.) But as it stands, we are a woman constantly in the anguish and terror of labor, and never coming to birth, never coming to the joy and relief of a living baby laid at her breast. But we are in perpetual labor with a full term dead baby. We are in perpetual travail and we are perpetually bereaved. We are a stillborn nation, dead in our sins, and therefore our anguish is very great indeed.
Two Closing Encouragements
I want to close with two observations and encouragements for those of you who largely agree and see what I’m talking about. If you’re still thrashing around in your shed looking for something metal and pointy, might I suggest that you spend some time organizing your shed before commenting?
The first thing to note is that it is to our shame that many of those leading the protests against government shutdowns and governor recalls are women. I’m talking about conservative women, Christian women who see the plays being run, and before you know it, they have martialed all their homeschool lady friends and now a petition is going around. Don’t misunderstand me. I have no problem with a woman getting a petition together or helping to organize a protest. I don’t even believe it is always and in every place wrong or shameful for a woman to run for public office. My point is that many (most?) of our conservative initiatives are led by, even dominated by women. That is a shame. I am very grateful for good women standing up for the truth, but if what I have sketched above is even somewhat true, the question on our minds needs to be: where are the men? I believe the reason many of our conservative and Christian efforts to push back the insidious darkness of liberalism and Marxism, abortion and sexual debauchery have failed is because we are still being led by women. Praise God for faithful women, especially for women who are thoughtful about how they engage in public, refusing to sacrifice their femininity in the process, but shame on the men who have failed to take the lead, who have left their wives and daughters unprotected, who have sent their wives and daughters out on the cultural battlefield to fight instead of them.
And this leads to the last point. There is enormous cultural pressure being exerted on the church right now and if we are not careful, a great deal of that is landing on our wives: pressures not to meet for worship, pressures to meet, to only meet with 25% capacity, to meet with masks, to wear masks everywhere, to not wear masks, and the central pressure being applied is the pressure of fear. Fear the virus, fear your neighbors, fear your family, fear the government, fear church leaders making the wrong decisions, fear being thought of as a criminal, a scoff law, or a heartless barbarian (which is almost as bad as a heartless librarian, but I digress). But remember our riff on Lewis’s point: many of those temptations to fear are actually rooted in natural protective instincts. So Christian men must protect their wives and daughters even as they sort through how to be faithful in all of this. We must protect them from their own fears, from the fears of the world, and we must not act or talk in a way that stokes those fears. Men can stoke those fears by leaving the fears completely ignored or unaddressed. This is why one of the most courageous and faithful things a man may do is correct his wife’s fears graciously. And please underline the world graciously. A man’s duty before God is to protect the world from his wife’s natural protective instincts, and instead of allowing those instincts to grow into monstrous fears, shepherd them to fruitful and productive ends.
But men can also stoke those fears by being insensitive to those fears and protective instincts. The text I quoted early from Peter does not say that it’s ok for women to be fearful; it charges them to adorn themselves in the beauty of the gospel and submit to their own husbands without fear of any terror. But the same text also charges husbands to dwell with their wives with understanding, honoring their wives as weaker vessels. This doesn’t mean giving in to their weakness or allowing their fears to go unchecked. It means leading them and loving them, and listening to them, the way they want God to listen to their prayers. And then giving direction to their wives so that their strengths and wisdom are used for the good of the family, the church, and ultimately, the good of the world.
If the gospel is Christ come for His bride, laying His life down to die for her sins, to make her clean and sanctify her to the uttermost, this is the calling of every husband in particular, and we will not make much progress against sin and darkness in our land until men lead in imitation of that kind of love. And here’s the thing: if God sends His Spirit upon our land, and men rise up in courage, repenting of their sins and turning to Christ alone, the stillborn baby we are currently in labor with, will be restored to life. And our great sorrow will be turned to a great joy that can never be taken away.